U.S. President Donald Trump has ordered the Pentagon to create a new military branch for space.
The president revealed his plans for the “Space Force” Monday while meeting at the White House with the National Space Council.
“We must have American dominance in space,” Trump said. Very importantly, I am hereby directing the Department of Defense and Pentagon to immediately begin the process necessary to establish a Space Force as the Sixth Branch of the Armed Forces.”
Creation of the Space Force was assigned by Trump to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford.
Prior to Trump’s statement, U.S. Space Command, a branch of the U.S. Air Force, oversaw military space operations.
Despite Trump’s proclamation, Congress would have to approve the plan before it could proceed.
U.S. lawmakers have in the past shot down similar plans to create a “Space Corps.”
Trump stated the new military branch was necessary for U.S. national security, adding that he did not want “China and Russia and other countries leading us.”
“Our destiny beyond the Earth is not only a matter of national identity but a matter of national security,” Trump said.
The announcement came alongside other space initiatives including U.S. plans to return to the Moon and travel to Mars.
The president also established a new policy for decreasing the clutter of satellites rotating around the earth.
Trump first mentioned the potential plan for a Space Force during a speech on March 13.